London – First Impressions (Larissa Dallman)

Boarding the plane to London was a surreal experience. It seems like it was just a couple weeks ago I was rushing to finish my application that I kept procrastinating on to get done.

Of course I wasn’t able to sleep at all on the plane and the vegetarian meal was really questionable, but at least The Hangover was playing on our little TVs. Which also meant that I was giggling like an idiot to myself at all of my favorite parts.

Our first steps off of the airplane required us to walk almost around the entire airport to get to baggage claim. Angie met us through security and took us on “coach”, not a bus, to Manson Place, our home for the next three and a half months. The biggest adventure the first day was trying to carry our 40+ pound bags up two flights of stairs to our “flat”, not apartment. Unpacking with virtually no storage space is a completely opposite story. I’m rooming with Keri and Luanne and our room is slowly starting to look like an actual room! I have pictures up on the walls and am trying to work with the little room that I have for everything! In our flat we have three full bathrooms, but with thirteen people trying to live in a small space, it makes me miss VMC and living with only three other people a little bit; plus the showers in VMC are actually a little bit bigger than two of our showers here.

One thing that I’ve learned since I’ve been in London is that everything here is in smaller portions: smaller food, smaller living spaces, smaller everything. All of the houses look smaller and have smaller spaces within each flat. and I’ve definitely been hungry since I’ve been here since they serve smaller portions in most of the restaurants. All of the restaurants actually. Five of us finally went grocery shopping today and got food for the flat so that we don’t have to eat out every single meal.

Another difference between the states and Europe is that they use less preservatives in their food so the fruits and vegetables have really early expiration dates. The vegetables that I bought today have to be eaten within the next couple days, which means several trips to the grocery store every week; two minimum.

One thing that has taken A LOT of getting used to his that people in London drive on “the correct side of the road”. Thankfully, they have signs on the road that say ‘look left’ or ‘look right’ so that anyone visiting the country can look the correct way and not get hit by the cars; all of which are extremely nice. The streets are lined with VW’s and Ferrari’s and Audi’s. The borough of South Kensington and Chelsea is the most expensive part of the city though, which also means that its way more expensive to live here. Budgeting money is definitely going to be one of the most difficult parts of the trip.

The language in London is also different, well, some of the words at least. This includes:
Coach =bus
Rubber = eraser
Knock you up = wake up call at the hotel
Motor way = highway
Its going to take a lot of getting used to!

Overall the first three days in London included:
-Setting the firm alarm in Manson Place off…twice.
-Being able to drink legally for the first time
-Going to our first night club
-Exploring Picadilly Circus, the Natural History Museum, the Tube, the bus system, and different restaurants and coffe shops
-Getting lost on the Tube for the first time. Finding our way back on the Tube for the first time.
…and so much more.

Larissa Dallman is studying abroad in London, England, with the Foundation for International Education (FIE).

This entry was posted in Cultural Adjustment & Culture Shock, Food, Language and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.